Chicago: Day 1

Back by popular demand, (apparently people actually like reading these and I’m flattered) welcome to another Werkin family vacation! We were extremely close to heading back to Charleston, but this year we decided to take a different route. My dad suggested Chicago since I’ve never been there, my parents haven’t been in about 7 years now, and it was something different than going to the beach. We got lots of food and sight seeing recommendations from friends, so I was pretty excited to see what the city was all about.

We landed in Chicago around 2 o’clock. It was so nice: no layover, short flight, luggage came off the plane as soon as we got to baggage claim, and getting an uber was no trouble. I was thinking something has to go wrong this is just too smooth, but thankfully we were just that lucky.

After we unpacked, we decided to just walk around a bit. I was surprised by how beautiful the city was. Everything was so well kept and clean, a bit of a contrast from what I’ve seen in New York.

We stopped at Eataly, an Italian eatery and food market. I immediately fell in love. It was wall to wall wine ( okay I’m probably exaggerating but you get the point), meats, cheeses and vegetables for sale, and a few little restaurants on the top floor. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast so we decided to grab a bite to eat. We ordered 2 types of bruschetta: one with fresh heirloom tomatoes and the other with chickpea pesto (because I never pass up beans or pesto, duh). Both were fantastic. The tomatoes were surprisingly great for them not being quite in season, and the pesto, even though I dont think it was made with the traditional basil, had a thicker texture that I enjoyed  and a touch of lemon to brighten it up. Paired with my glass of wine (how cute is that glass by the way?), all in all it just really just hit the spot.

Before we left for vacation, we made dinner reservations for every night except tonight… Not our smartest plan. We had a hard time finding a place that wasn’t completely booked (weird for a Wednesday right?). Finally, we decided on Howells & Hood. Its a modern restaurant right along Michigan Avenue.

When we arrived, I realized that a great tragedy had befell me: I wasn’t very hungry. Horrible, I know. That late lunch filled me up more than I anticipated. OH BUT DONT WORRY!! That wasn’t gonna stop me from eating. We started off with the cheese curds for an appetizer since that is the restaurants specialty. I thought they were good, but if you’ve had cheese curds in Green Bay, Wisconsin, nothing is really going to live up to that.

My mom and I went back and forth on what to order. We talked about maybe splitting something, but then Dad talked up into getting our own and just sharing. So mom ordered the risotto with  goat’s milk brie, arugula, roasted mushrooms, asparagus, shaved Parmesan, brown butter. I loved it, she thought the goat cheese was a bit overpowering. Dad decided on the Chopped Ahi Tuna Salad with napa cabbage, romaine, bok choy, bell peppers, black sesame seeds, daikon radish, green onions, mandarin oranges, almonds, cucumbers, crispy wonton strips, sesame ginger vinaigrette. Refreshing is the best way to describe it. Now… I looked at the menu and the skirt steak with  green chili rice, warm cherry tomato vinaigrette, red harissa and crispy kohlrabi  sounded good, but again, I wasn’t that hungry. Dad convinced me that it wouldn’t be that big, so I ordered it… it was a lot of food. The steak was delicious, but I left most of the rice on my plate. After dinner I was stuffed, but Mom wanted dessert. She got the creme brûlée, since she has always wanted to try it. Yeah I was stuffed but y’all are nuts if you thought I wasn’t good eat some.

Earlier in the day, we had bought tickets for the boat architecture tour. We got a recommendation that it was much prettier at night, so we booked for 8pm. The tour was about an hour and fifteen minutes long, and it was awesome. Chicago has some of the coolest and widely eclectic styles of architecture that I have ever seen. All the skyscrapers had its own unique design, but everything still fit together so well. 10/10 would suggest you do this if you’re in the city.

If you regularly read my vacation blog posts, then you know that were typically in for the night pretty early.. so this was a big step for us. After the tour, we walked around for a bit (mostly bc I was dying for a diet coke) and ended up back in the room at around 10:30. I had such a good first day, but I needed as much sleep as possible to gear up for all the walking we were going to be doing the next day!

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